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One on Two of the Best of British
By Torben L.  - WBAN Correspondent
May 20, 2006

The Maj Box Cup 2006 gave me the opportunity to meet Amanda Coulson and her coach Paul Allen. They were both very generous with their time, which gave me a welcome chance to learn more about England’s best female amateur boxer, and also to get some insight in the present position of women’s amateur boxing in the UK.

It immediately becomes apparent, that Amanda lives for her sport. Her determination to be among the top competitors in her weight division, is substantiated by her attitude to training.

Her full time job at a police call centre entails shift work, which makes it difficult to schedule her training. However, this has been never used as an excuse to cut down on time spent the gym, says her coach, Paul Allen, and he continues, “most men would have given up long ago, if they had same difficulties, like training for years without the prospect of a bout, lack of recognition etc.”

Amanda makes no bones about it: the road to where she is today has been stony. It is hurtful, when you receive very little or no recognition, for what you have achieved through a rigorous training effort, that bear comparison with any other top athlete. The disappointment of turning up ready to box, only to be told that yet another bout has been cancelled. The indifference of parts of the sports press, who fails to even mention the name of your opponent or weight division, when all the male bouts on the same bill are shown with all relevant details.

But the love of her sport has kept her motivated to continue, and there are good signs that her perseverance is paying off. Things are improving. Amanda Coulson is far from being a boastful person, but she does little to conceal her pride, when she talks about getting selected to the England team for Internationals And European and World Championships. A pride she shares with her coach for 8 years, Paul Allen.

I brought along some questions for Amanda Coulson, and here are her answers:

WBAN: Is there any boxing tradition in your family?

AC: No. I am the first Coulson in my family to take up the sport.

WBAN: Are you comfortable in the 63 kg category, or do you consider moving into another weight class?

AC: 63kg (light welter weight) is the weight I feel most comfortable boxing
at. I have boxed in all tournaments and championships at this weight and
will continue to do so. I have monitored this weight division since I begun
boxing, and now know who's who in this division.

WBAN: Has there been a change in the public's attitude to women's boxing in UK from you started in the late 90'ties to the present day.

AC: Yes,  there has been more acceptance for females in the sport... however, there is still a lot of 'old-school' people involved in the sport who do not agree with women boxing. I do feel that it has improved and hope it will continue to do so.

WBAN: Does your boxing career leave you time for a normal social life?

AC: This is a very good question! I put alot of my time into boxing, from
running, training, sparring, travelling, eating, resting...it leaves very
little time for anything else. I also have a full time job in which I
juggle my training around. I do like to socialise and have got a good
circle of friends who are very supportive and understanding towards my
sporting needs/comittments. I do have a social life, but not as much as
others my age...but that's a sacrifice I'm willing to give for the sport I

WBAN: Sweden allowed women's amateur boxing back in 1988, 10 years before England. How long do you think it will it take for amateur boxing in
England to catch up and what could be done to speed up the process.

AC: I know England are behind a lot of countries in regards to female boxing. I don't believe we are behind on the skill side of things, but experience is
something we lack when put against other countries. England are becoming
more supportive toward the females in the sport, but there is still room for
improvement and once this comes, the sport can develop the girls out there
wanting to achieve.

WBAN: What advise would you give to young girls that consider to have a go at boxing?

AC: Any girl out there interested needs to get themselves along to a local
boxing gym. It can be quite daunting stepping into a male dominated sport,
but once you begin the training you will really enjoy the sport. It is a
great overall body fitness sport, which helps you stay fit and healthy..and
is filled with rewarding challenges.

WBAN: If you were to make a wish list for on behalf women's amateur boxing
in the UK, what would be on the list?

AC: I wish that the governing body would accept and treat a boxer with the same respect, regardless of their gender. I wish there was a funding structure in place for females, just as it is for the men.  Overall, if the girls were treated the same as the boys, then who could complain!

WBAN: You are quoted for saying, that you do not even consider turning to
pro. Will you share your reasons for that with us?

AC: I cant quite remember the quote, however I would have said that I have no intentions of turning pro at the moment. My ambitions in the amateur sport have not yet been reached. I want to win the Europeans, Worlds and compete at the Olympic games...that's my goals, and I'll be busy for the next few years trying to reach them. If after that there is some kind of good deal to turn pro....then who knows!

Thanks to Amanda Coulson and Paul Allen for taking the time to talk to WBAN.  It has been a great pleasure to meet you both.

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